Kremlin tells Russian media to conceal low birthrate


Eastern Europe


A mother shows her child the Russian Defence Ministry building in Moscow. Photo EPA, Maxim Shipenkov

The Russian authorities told the national news agencies to conceal the demographic crisis in the country under Putin's regime.

They are not to write or broadcast anything about the low number of births, two sources told Moscow Times. Journalists are not even allowed to cover the official statistics of Rosstat, the national statistics agency in Russia.

Rosstat's latest report showed a dip in demography. The study covered the period from January to May 2023. The number of births had decreased by 1.2 per cent compared to a year earlier. The total number of babies born in the first months of the year is 511.7 thousand. That may seem a lot, but in fact, the relative birthrate has not been this low since 1999. On average, every 100,000 inhabitants had 8.5 newborn babies during the months of the study.


As a result, Moscow Times writes, Russia has lost 236.7 thousand inhabitants due to natural population decline. Last year, the population size decreased by 600 thousand already.

However, the news is to be concealed by the media, Kremlin told state-controlled journalists. The regime tightened its censorship shortly after Russian President Putin met the Minister of Health, Mikhail Murashko, on July 12.

It is not exactly clear what the two discussed, but a week after the meetings, Murashko made some remarkable statements. For example, he strongly denounced women that choose a career over having children. In addition, he announced measures to reduce the number of abortions and tighten control over abortion drugs. Murashko blamed women who get an education and become financially independent for the problems of infertility, miscarriage, IVF and the lack of families with three or four children.


Under Putin's rule, the birthrate has been steadily declining. Rosstat's statistics show that the population has almost decreased by a third since the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

The current invasion of Ukraine also costs a lot of life. Tens of thousands of men will not return from the front. This will speed up the deterioration of the population even more. According to demographer Aleksey Raksha, it is possible that the number of childbirths will decrease by another 5 to 10 per cent, thus becoming the lowest since the beginning of the 19th century. He expects that this year about 1.2 million babies will be born.



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